Cliff Lee is totally going to get these guys back next year for all these offensive practical jokes! What a bunch of jokesters! Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Phillies' Never-Ending Quest To Crush Cliff Lee's Soul Almost Complete, Lose 2-1 to Marlins

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In their seemingly never-ending attempt to viciously and cruelly crush the spirit of their $25 million pitcher, the Phillies offense abandoned Cliff Lee one more time here in 2012, ultimately losing to the Marlins in Miami 2-1.

The loss also officially eliminated the Phillies from postseason contention.

Hello darkness, my old friend.

The loss was the third straight for the Phillies, and the fifth in their last six games. Lee went seven strong innings, giving up just one run on three hits with five strikeouts and no walks. The Marlins’ lone run came on a Giancarlo Stanton homer in the fourth that gave Miami a 1-0 lead.

It sure did look like the offense was going to do all it could to make sure Lee picked up his ninth loss of the season. But John Mayberry Jr. and Jimmy Rollins combined to score the team’s lone run of the ballgame in the eighth inning against Marlins starter Mark Buerhle, thanks to a double by Mayberry and an RBI single by Rollins. That run got Lee off the hook for the loss, but once again, the dominant left-hander pitched a fantastic ballgame with nothing to show for it.

Like so many other times this year, Lee was the victim of what I can only assume has been a running team-wide prank for the last six months.

Guys, seriously, you can stop pranking on Cliff now. The season’s over. Turn the Punk’d cameras off and score some runs for this guy.

Oh, and if you’re looking for proof of how meaningless a pitcher’s “win” total is, look no further than Clifton Phifer’s stats this year.

What Lee has had happen to him in 2012 defies logic. In 17 of his 29 starts, he gave up two earned runs or less. His record in those 17 games is 6-3 with eight no decisions.

Also, Cliff Lee did not win a game in which he gave up more than two earned runs all season. In his six wins this year, he gave up two runs in one of them, one run in two of them and no runs in the other three.

That’s just one mean, long-running joke, guys.

Thankfully, Phils reliever Josh Lindblom granted everyone the reprieve of extra innings by making his presence felt in the bottom of the ninth. Lindblom, who entered the game with a deceiving 3.68 ERA in 24 games since joining the Phillies as part of the Shane Victorino trade, quickly got himself into trouble by giving up a leadoff double to Marlins’ left fielder Bryan Peterson, who was later knocked in by a Carlos Lee walk-off single.

Normally, I’d be upset with Lindblom’s lackluster performance on Friday night. However, the Reds’ Homer Bailey was tossing a no-hitter at the same time, so I think we can all be thankful Lindblom put everyone out of their misery with a bit more haste.

The good news is, with the Phils now officially eliminated from the playoffs, the obvious solution to all our problems can finally be acted upon.

Yeah, and while we’re at it, let’s call up a couple GMs and see if we can’t get this Cliff Lee trade rumor mill back up and runnin’! After all, it’s not like Lee pitched a no-hitter this year, right? Maybe if Cliff had spent a little more time throwing no-hitters and not letting hitters get hits and stuff, he wouldn’t have only six wins! Maybe he’d have seven? Or eight? Who’s to say?

And with the Phils officially out of the playoff picture, the team can now focus their efforts on fully destroying the right shoulder of Roy Halladay, who will take the mound for the Phillies tomorrow night. Because, it’s really, really important that Halladay squeeze one more substandard, painful start into this lost 2012 season.

So come join us tomorrow night and watch Mr. Halladay completely obliterate his rotator cuff, won’t you?

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